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Consider the case where consecutive blocks of N letters of a semi-infinite individual sequence X over a finite alphabet are being compressed into binary sequences by some one-to-one mapping. No a priori information about X is available at the encoder, which must therefore adopt a universal data-compression algorithm. It is known that there exist a number of asymptotically optimal universal data compression algorithms (e.g., the Lempel-Ziv (LZ) algorithm, context tree algorithm and an adaptive Hufmann algorithm) such that when successively applied to N-blocks then, the best error-free compression for the particular individual sequence X is achieved as N tends to infinity. The best possible compression that may be achieved by any universal data compression algorithm for finite N-blocks is discussed. Essential optimality for the compression of finite-length sequences is defined. It is shown that the LZ77 universal compression of N-blocks is essentially optimal for finite N-blocks. Previously, it has been demonstrated that a universal context tree compression of N blocks is essentially optimal as well.